Here are portions from a report concerning the 81st General Assembly Overture on the Mosaic Covenant and Republication put forth by the Presbytery of the Northwest OPC.
The 81st General Assembly by Daniel F. Patterson
Overture from the Presbytery of the Northwest
An overture was brought to the assembly by the Presbytery of the Northwest (PNW) asking the assembly to establish a study committee to examine and give its advice as to whether and in which particular sense the concept of the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the Adamic Covenant is consistent with the doctrinal system taught in the confessional standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
One of the representatives for the PNW, the Rev. Randy Bergquist, was granted 30 minutes to present the reasons for the overture, in which he outlined the history and context that lead them to bring the overture.
After the presentation by the representatives of the PNW, the advisory committee recommended that the overture be denied. A substitute motion was then made, namely, that the General Assembly grant the overture from the PNW. The assembly took quite a bit of time debating whether to substitute before running up against the order of the day, the morning break, at 10:15 a.m.
Continuation of the Consideration of the Overture from the PNW
After the address by Dr. Duncan, there was discussion regarding parliamentary procedure and it was determined that the question on the floor was, “Shall we grant the overture from the PNW?”
A substitute motion was then made to request the assembly’s Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations (CEIR) to recommend to the 40th (2014) meeting of the National Association of Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) that NAPARC call a conference on the confessional implications of republication, to which member churches are invited to send speakers, and authorize the CEIR to accept, on behalf of the OPC, the designation as the member church responsible to convene such conference.
After lengthy debate, a motion was made to postpone definitely the consideration of the substitute until the question of a visitation committee to the PNW was decided. This motion was passed by the assembly.
The advisory committee then brought a recommendation to the assembly that the assembly erect a committee of three presbyters, to be appointed by the moderator, to meet as soon as possible with the PNW and concerned parties within it to assist the presbytery in dealing with matters that divide it and to promote reconciliation.
Before the recommendation by the advisory committee was considered, the assembly came to the order of the day, our morning devotion and lunch break.
Continued Consideration of the Overture from the PNW
The assembly reconvened at 1:30 p.m. with the singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy” and prayer by elder John Terpstra of Providence Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas.
The assembly took up the recommendation of the advisory committee to form a visitation committee. A substitute motion was then made to better reflect the urgency of the request and also require that the visit from committee wait until the PNW has officially asked for help. This motion was amended to reflect a different composition of the committee (three ministers and/or ruling elders). It passed. The substitute motion was then passed by the assembly. It then became the main motion before the assembly. This motion was then amended to reflect that the visitation committee should be tasked to assist the already existing republication committee in the presbytery. This amendment was defeated.
Following these various substitutions and amendments, the assembly approved the formation of a visitation committee.
With this question decided the assembly took up the consideration of the referral of the substitute motion regarding a NAPARC committee to the Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations. The motion to refer failed.
The assembly then took up the debate regarding the substitute motion, which was to request CEIR to recommend to the 40th (2014) meeting of NAPARC that NAPARC call a conference on the confessional implications of republication.
There was a motion to table this substitute. The motion to table the substitute passed.
Since the motion to table passed, the assembly took up the consideration of the overture of the PNW to form a study committee on republication.
A motion was then made that the overture be referred to the newly formed visitation committee and that this visitation committee report back to the 82nd General Assembly.
After considerable debate, the motion to refer the overture of the PNW to the visitation committee failed.
The overture was once again before the assembly. In review, the overture requests that the GA establish a study committee to examine and give its advice as to whether and in which particular senses the concept of the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the Adamic Covenant is consistent with the doctrinal system taught in the confessional standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
At 3:15 p.m. the time for the afternoon break arrived and the assembly recessed.
Continued Consideration of PNW Overture
The assembly reconvened with the singing of “Let All Things Now Living” and prayer by the Rev. David Graves, pastor of Trinity OPC, Franklin, Pennsylvania.
The question of the overture from the PNW was once again before the assembly. After much debate, and a call for division, the overture was granted by a vote of 83–53.
Election of the Study Committee for the Issue of Republication
Have given the assembly time to consider nominees for the committee to study the doctrine of republication, elections were held.
The study committee will consist of five men. Sixteen men were nominated. The following men were elected: the Revs. Craig Troxel, Chad Van Dixhoorn, Bryan Estelle, Benjamin Swinburnson and Lane Tipton.